Ladies, here's why being a black woman living abroad makes you a target - Part 2 [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]
I got back home! Unlike thousands of women who don’t. I got back home safe and unharmed and yes, I showed up at Mehmet’s with a friend!
I know the word on the streets is that you shouldn’t carry your own squad to a date. Take your full squad and an extra person if it makes you feel safe.
Living in the school district means one thing, you see the same characters everywhere. This can be a good thing.
You build bonds, score a workout partner or two, or like in my case, call up a friend when an ”emergency” like this comes up. Thank heavens Ellen agreed to tag along.
In my head, this wasn’t a date, it was just lunch with the bonus of getting my notes printed but I wasn’t going to show up at Mehmet’s house with company unannounced. That would be uncouth.
In Turkish, they say ‘trip atmak’ which directly translates to “throw tantrums”. It’s a word we loosely use mostly for a child who is being a nuisance.
My biggest concern was of course that he would throw baby tantrums when he heard I was bringing company or for lack of a better terminology ‘trip atacakti’.
To my surprise, he was more than willing to host both Ellen and I. In fact, there was enough food for everyone. I did feel however like he felt like this would score him some points so like a good respectful child of God, I kept calling him ‘hocam’ which means teacher.
We use hocam to show respect, to show a clear marked boundary that shouldn’t be crossed. It means I look up to you and you are my mentor. You definitely don’t want to cross this by going on a first name basis and that’s one thing I’m careful not to do.
That had to be the best steak I have had in a long time. This guy can cook! I have to give that to him.
2 things I learned about Mehmet
I came to find out Mehmet has been divorced for close to two years, he has a beautiful daughter and he actually just does boxing part time. This guy is an actual sports teacher and to me.
The fact that he is still in good terms with his ex-wife speaks volumes about him. First as a human being and most definitely as a father. (Dear deadbeat dads, do it for your children. No child deserves to grow up answering unanswered questions).
You can tell a lot about someone by just listening. Listen to how they talk about themselves (one clear way to sport a narcissist is they talk a lot about themselves), how they describe family, friends, what they do when they are free and most importantly how they engage when it comes to global issues.
At this point in my life, I would rather listen. This gave me hope. Mehmet gave me hope. There are still good guys left!
I'm black, in a foreign country
I know some of you will be skeptical about bringing a friend along, so let me address that. This isn’t my home. This isn’t my country.
I am a black girl living in a country I knew nothing about. I am a black girl!
You know what that means? It means the rules don’t apply to me.
How I dress, who I hang out with, where I hang out…it all doesn’t matter. I am judged based on a completely different hand book, my color and black skin is objectified. It’s equated to sex.
I have to be extra careful knowing the decisions I make can come back and bite me. I have to double and triple check with myself to see if some risks are worth taking. I don’t have the luxury of making wrong choices.
We women don’t. Better safe than sorry.
If you or a person you know has been the victim of sexual or gender-based violence we encourage that you report the matter at your nearest police station. For further assistance in seeking legal redress contact any of the below organizations:-
- Gender Violence Recover Centre, Nairobi Women’s Hospital
- Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
- The CRADLE – The Children Foundation
- African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN)
- Advantage Africa
- Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW)
The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
Should you wish to submit an Article to Pulse, do so via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polet is a medical intern at Hacettepe School of Medicine, Ankara - Turkey. She is a frequent blogger and YouTuber, passionate about women & empowerment, Human Rights, Sexual Gender Based Violence and Gender equality. She has recently completed certified courses on Feminism and Social Justice, International Women’s Health and Human Rights and a course on African Development. She also volunteer’s with BBRC (Bridging Bridges for Refugee Children in Ankara).
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